Destruction demolished his rivals in a devastating display in his Launching Pad semi-final at Sandown Park last night.
Jumping from box 2, Destruction was pressured early but held his place on the rail through the first turn and from there was never headed, charging into the $210,000 final five lengths clear of Fernando Mick. His winning time of 29.39 was not only the fastest time he’s recorded at Sandown Park but the fastest of the four semi-finals.
Destruction earned his place in Launching Pad series by winning a ticket via the qualifier at the beginning of the month and is now among the leading chances in next Thursday’s $210,000 final.
“It’s bit of a Cinderella story isn’t it,” said his delighted trainer Robert Camilleri.
“He won his ticket to get through – he was just a young immature pup learning so we thought we’d give him a bit of experience. We didn’t expect him to come this far but he’s done super.”
Destruction has lowered his time at each of his last three starts, courtesy of his improving box manners.
“He doesn’t normally begin, but he began much better tonight. I know his run homes are very strong and it would take a fair sort of dog to come from behind.”
Earlier, Wedding Or Baby caused the upset of the night when he upstaged series favourite Aston Rupee to claim his semi-final in 29.69. He started at $81 with TAB fixed odds, the equal second highest priced winner at the track in the fixed odds era and the longest since April 2020.
As impressive as his win was, it was the effort of runner up Aston Rupee that caught the punter’s attention. After finding early trouble, Aston Rupee stormed home to get within a length of the winner, a performance that saw the punters snap up the $3.60 price for the final once the box draw was released and is now the $2.80 favourite to claim the finale.
A race later, Kuro Kismet turned in a similar performance when powering home to run within a length of Sid Core, who also caused the upset by scoring at $26 in 29.56.
In the night’s opening semi-final, Hadouken became the only undefeated greyhound in the series when he led all of the way to win in 29.61 over Mepunga Reject.
The final of the three week Launching Pad will be run at Sandown Park on Thursday April 1st.
Much like his heat, Hadouken (7) stepped only fairly but mustered quickly to draw level and eventually cross Envy To Burn (5) and Broady Lights (6). His outstanding mid-race pace enabled him to open a race winning break down the back, but keep an eye on Mepunga Wonder (3). After getting squeezed soon after box rise, he was last past the post the first time and around 10 lengths from the leader entering the back straight. He reduced the margin to less than a length at the line and was the first dog into the catching pen.
Wedding Or Baby (5) caused the upset of the night saluting at $81 fixed odds with TAB. He took full advantage of the vacant box on his outside to cross and lead through the first turn. In doing so, he checked a number of his rivals most notably series favourite Aston Rupee (4) which was shuffled back near last. He recovered superbly for a dog in just his 10th start, recovering to charge home to miss by less than half a length.
Sid Core (2) ran fourth in his heat at his first race in almost six months so it easy to understand how slipped under the punter's guard. A Sydney-sider now in the care of Rob Britton, Sid Core began OK and found himself in the right spot to capitalise on leaders Silken (1) and Shima Classic (7) coming together approaching the back straight. As was the case with the two previous semi-finals, the runner up was the eye-catcher. Kuro Kismet (4) endured a chequered run throughout but was close enough to unleash a devastating finishing burst, coming from way back to miss by less than a length but still progress to next Thursday night's final.
The final semi-final produced the fastest time after Demolition (2) nailed the start and advanced to the Launching Pad final unchallenged. It was the best the rising two year old has stepped in his 12 career starts and will be a serious factor in the final after again coming up with box 2. Fernando Mick (7) continues trainer David Geall's golden run of late, finishing strongly to join Destruction in the final.
The 2021 Launching Pad box draw